My Parenting Playlist

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The countdown to tweendom is officially on at our house. While Max claims he’s already there, I refuse, saying that 11 is the official Age of Tween, that “too old for kid stuff, too young for teenager stuff” phase of life. While I’ve been kind of in denial for some time now, the fact is that Max turns 11 in just under a month. (Ask him; he’ll give you the to-the-hour countdown)

Along with these tween years come so many changes. “Family sciences” class at school happened last month, middle school is just around the corner, and with it comes so much change! Never mind what happens when a kid is that age, everything is so different! The school day is structured differently, responsibilities expand, and suddenly it seems like everything is going to “go down on your permanent record.”

As we start this new phase of life, I’m desperate to find all the advice I can, to equip me to help Max succeed as he navigates these challenging years.

Thank goodness for the Center for Parent and Teen Communication! An invaluable resource for parents, you’ll find communication strategies, health and well-being advice, and more.

One of my favorite features is their collection of bite-sized parenting tips, in 100-word pieces that make it easy to digest when you just have a moment and need a little reassurance that you’re on the right track.

Here’s some of my favorite tidbits from the collection:

Be a lighthouse: It’s not about being a helicopter parent or a skateboard parent or an insert-your-preferred-mode-of-transport parent. It’s about being a beacon for your kid as they navigate life. Be solid and reliable and shining brightly to bring them home.

Help them be successful: Understand that your child’s “success” may not be the same as yours, or even the same as what they consider successful today. Encourage them not to base their success on grades, but on their communities, and how they engage.

Be helpful, but don’t just do it: This is hard for me. When I’m helping Max with homework, it’s easy to get frustrated and just give him the correct answer, but that doesn’t help. Point them in the right direction, but they need to take ownership of their own work.

Celebrate milestones: Moments don’t stop happening once they’ve taken their first step or said their first word. Don’t forget to celebrate the firsts of teenhood as well! These are important steps in their journey to adulthood, and deserve to be celebrated too!

Be unconditionally loving: Parenting teaches you that you can love someone more than air and want to strangle them at the same time. That they can be the most frustrating person on Earth, and yet they still top your favorite people list. Let them know that, no matter what, you love them and you are there.

What would be on your parenting playlist? Check out the tidbits on the website, or drop your own advice in the comments below!

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